Before we moved, I canceled all of our newspaper deliveries.
We had been getting the New York Times on Sundays, and the Boston Globe every day.
The reason for this plethora of paper and news was that last year, in about November, J’s teacher made a comment that she was one of the least informed in the class. D. and I knew why. We don’t watch the local news, or the mainstream news. We occasionally watch the News Hour on PBS, but our schedule has shifted later and later to the point where we’re rarely settled and in front of the t.v. by 6 p.m. when it comes on. We don’t watch the other news, because we don’t really CARE about the brutal slayings in Georgia or Idaho or wherever this week’s sexiest “news” story is happening. We don’t care about the warped teasers thrown out before the commercial break. We don’t care about the back door of some remote town’s school’s equipment shed that was left unlocked one night last weekend, causing a “safety concern.” We don’t want to subject the girls’ precious little minds to the sensationalism and nonsense that comes with most news shows.
So when her teacher made the comment, we thought perhaps we should find a way to integrate the days’ events into the girls’ lives more. (Even though E stayed aware, mostly through listening and participating in our conversations, her friends’ conversations, the internet, and her own general curiosity – something that J does lack in this area. You might say that E is our budding activist while J is our budding Uninformed Voter.) We decided the best thing to do was have the newspaper around. Something she could come to when curious, but not have forced upon her.
From November until July, we had stacks and stacks of newspapers in the house. Underfoot in the entry way, almost always wrapped in their delivery bags until they were removed to be recycled at the end of the week.
Hence, the cancellation upon the move. But we missed the Sunday papers – which at least D read every week. I more picked and chose through for the “fun” sections, but I read something every week. On September 15, I went to the New York Times’ website and re-ordered the paper.
On September 21st, I heard the Sunday morning delivery person making his/her way down the street, with the “thunk thunk thunk” of papers on porches, and excitedly went to get my Sunday morning paper.
It wasn’t there.
I pouted, but assumed my order just hadn’t gone through yet.
Later that week, though, my bill arrived, and it said “Service Start Date: 9/21/08.” I was too busy to worry about the $5 or whatever that I was billed for nothing.
Then, on September 28th, again, the thunk, the running down the stairs (we live on the 2nd floor). No paper. The neighbors’ Globe was there. But no Times.
This time, I called. They said there was a “production delay” in our area, and that we would not be receiving a paper that day. I pushed whatever series of 700 buttons necessary to talk to a person to let them know I hadn’t received the paper the previous week, either. They apologized, credited my account, and assured me that delivery would be normal the following week.
On October 5th, I trundled down the stairs with sleep still in my eyes clutching to the fantasy of brewing some coffee and reading the paper at my dining room table.
Again, I called. Again, they credited my account, and apologized that they would be unable to deliver a replacement paper because of some snag in production or a lack of a driver or something. They were really nice. I was pretty irritated.
October 12th. Guess what? No paper. I called AGAIN, on the verge of, but not quite, seething. They said that once again, there was a production delay, and we’d receive our paper by 10:30 a.m. But at 11 a.m., I called again with no paper in hand. Angry. Now they were understanding the urgency. They were going to “request an investigation” and “send a memo” to the distribution center. They also were going to get me a replacement paper.
I spent the whole day running to the porch at every noise and car door closing and balls bouncing. No paper.
D. suggested that we cancel the subscription. He didn’t think they would believe us anymore. He thought they would assume we were lying to get free papers. He asked “are you sure they know we moved?” And I told him: every time I call, the recording asks “please confirm that your street number is ___.” With the proper number – not the old (very different) number. Then I showed him my statement, with my name, account number, and current address on it.
Then yesterday – I was sure, after the investigation and all, that my paper would be there. Of course I would have a paper now. They investigated!
So I ran downstairs to be greeted, once again, with an empty and dejected porch.
I called again. I told them I needed to just cancel the damn thing. The very friendly boy on the other end said, “I really wouldn’t want you to cancel your paper,” to which I had no choice but to exclaim in a possibly loud voice “BUT I DON’T GET A PAPER!!” He pulled up my account and verified that I had, in fact, lodged “several complaints.”
He did convince me not to cancel. I mean, what’s the alternative? It’s almost November. It’s getting cold outside. If I cancel the paper, then I’m committing myself to either 1) no paper (or continued on line reading, which just isn’t as cozy) or 2) trudging outside in the cold and potentially snow every Sunday morning to get a paper. Ick!!
I decided to mention the move to him. It had occurred to me that perhaps it was the same delivery person as at my old address, and perhaps he just saw my name on the list, and since it’s a crazy-unique name, he just assumed he knew where I lived. And kept plunking paper down in the lobby of the old building. Perhaps stacks and stacks of weekly original AND replacement papers were barring the entry of the tenants of the old building, and the driver was pulling his hair out at the constant requests for new papers.
This boy promised me a replacement copy. And another investigation. I rolled my eyes a little, and said goodbye.
I checked a few times during the late morning, with the kids and the husband and now even the parents who were in for the weekend all laughing at me. With good reason, I suppose.
But at 12:20, when my father and I were walking out the front door to go for a walk to buy a new potato peeler because I had a horrific experience helping D prepare the mid-day meal with the crappy-ass peeler that he last bought after we inexplicably lost 4 consecutive peelers just in the 4 months that we’ve lived in this house — guess what greeted me on the stoop?
THE SUNDAY TIMES!!
I was so excited!! I ran it upstairs and belittled D for being of little faith and for mocking my perseverance. He rolled his eyes at me (something E is forbidden from doing so why he gets away with it, I have no idea) and then greedily snatched the precious blue bag from my hands.
I did not actually read the paper until 9 p.m., but I did read more than I ever have before, and I put the Magazine in my bag for train reading.
My father and I returned from the paper-finding walk at approximately 1:15. They left for home at 3:30, and I walked out my door at 4:50 to trek to the Gap and other errands. I was home at around 5. E came home for the evening at 6:30.
And this morning, I left my house at 7:06 a.m. I opened the door to let the cat out before me, and he stopped to sniff yet another blue bag. I thought perhaps it was the Monday paper – that they totally screwed up and put us on a daily schedule. Or perhaps, they decided to try and compensate me for my frustration by adding to my recycling pile.
But no – it was another Sunday paper.
Now I’m wondering if a neighbor stole it, and put it back in the night time?
Whatevs. At least I was able to keep myself occupied with a pleasant distraction while watching the Red Sox lose last night …
Read Full Post »